Jennie Marshall | 11 June 2013
I remember the first time I felt it. It was 1982 and my mum was playing the number one song from the charts on the radio and telling me to listen.
The words were like nothing I'd heard before: "Wimoweh, a
wimoweh…" I felt a jolt of energy and exhilaration unlike anything
I had experienced before.
This jolt returned when I was at comprehensive school in 1988, when a friend of mine put a certain 45 on her turntable (that's a vinyl record for you young folk!).
It was a dance anthem - in this case, Black Box's "Ride on Time".
By the time we got to "Gonna get up, gonna get up, gonna get up ,thank, thank, thank you, baby" I was hooked again, and I knew I would be for the rest of my life.
Why was I so sure about that?Because my brain had been exposed to something very powerful and life affirming.
It was pure, unadulterated joyous energy. It didn't even matter what the song was about (although I'm glad I wasn't paying much attention to the lyrics of "Ride on Time" as even now I don't know what the song is about).
Fast forward the clock about 3 more years, and another anthem raised the bar even higher. It was "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen and was re-released following Freddie Mercury's death. All my friends and I relived the scene in the movie "Wayne's World" many times when we cruised down the streets of where we lived singing "Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the fandango" at the top of our lungs.
The joy of the anthem struck again.
Since then, I've brought other anthems into my life again and again and they're always available when I need them (on my trusty iPod).
And sometimes they pop up when I least expect them be it on the 'shuffle' of the iPod or walking round the supermarket.
In today's world, we can log on to YouTube and spend hours watching clips of people all over the world singing their favourite anthem. When I saw one such video for the first time, I immediately recognised I was experiencing the "anthem effect".
All this joy during a favourite song poses a very interesting question - can we duplicate this feeling in "real life" when the music stops?
My answer to that is an emphatic, WHY NOT!
Think about your favorite anthems, and visualise that feeling. Feel that joy. Why are you feeling it? Sit back and really try to understand how your brain is working at that moment. Here's a little help, courtesy of Daniel Levitin, author of the book "This is Your Brain on Music":
"The rewarding and reinforcing aspects of listening to music seem, then, to be mediated by increasing dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens, and by the cerebellum's contribution to regulating emotion through its connections to the frontal lobe and the limbic system"
Say what? That's the science. (I'd like to say it was a "no-brainer" to understand, but that's truly a pun too far.)
It's interpreted this way: anthems tap into brain structures tied to motivation, reward, and emotion. Those songs are giving you all those things and usually at a high volume to boot.
Motivation, reward, and emotion . Now listen to your favorite anthem again. Feel how it pulls those three levers as you anticipate, and then experience, the crescendo (like my "Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango").
Make your life one big anthem. Find those things that truly motivate you. Do them with verve, fine style, and passion. Then reap the rewards.
You won't be livin' on a prayer very long. You'll be a rock star, producing your own Bohemian Rhapsody. And lovin' each day as if it's your last.
"Any way the wind blows……."
QA Learning Expert: Leadership, Management and Business Skills